The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a contract with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to house juvenile illegal immigrants at county facilities at a cost of $85 a day.
Unaccompanied minors are apprehended often by immigration officials, INS spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
"Those minors have to be taken care of," Kice said. "You can't just take a minor child and turn him loose. Often we get children 3 or 4 years of age.
"Their family may already be in the United States and relatives have made arrangements to bring the child into this country with a smuggler who is caught. We have to find out who the relatives are and make arrangements to reunite the family."
Under California law, juvenile offenders who are illegal immigrants must be detained in a county juvenile hall.
The county estimates that the yearly cost of housing about 80 juvenile illegal immigrants a day is $2,579,800, or $85 per juvenile per day.